Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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What Happens If My Dog Tests Positive for Heartworm?

As part of our canine patients’ annual wellness care, our veterinarians recommend having pups tested for heartworm infection each year in order to prescribe heartworm prevention to be used over the mosquito season (June till November).

The reason our veterinarians send these preventive medications?

(Click the image to make it larger)

What happens when a dog tests positive?
After a dog receives a positive result on the heartworm antigen screening test, further testing is required to confirm actual heartworm infection.

These tests include additional blood collection with the samples subjected to any of the following analyses:

  • A different manufacturer’s heartworm antigen test
  • Recovering microfilariae (heartworm larvae) circulating in the bloodstream
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Chemistries to assess organ function (liver, kidneys)

Other tests include chest x-rays or urinalysis depending on the dog’s symptoms. Most dogs with the early infection do not display any symptoms.

As the disease progresses, the heartworm infected dog may show any of these signs:

  • cough
  • exercise intolerance
  • rapid breathing
  • fluid in the abdomen
  • pale mucous membranes with a blue-coloured tinge
  • incoordination
  • heart murmur
  • rapid heartbeat

Your veterinarian will consider all of your pet’s symptoms when combined with a positive antigen test result. Because of the risks involved in heartworm treatment, the doctors must be certain of their diagnosis. In a subsequent blog, we will be presenting the details of heartworm treatment in diagnosed dogs.

If you have any questions or concerns about heartworm disease, please contact us! We are happy to help.

Resources:

  1. American Heartworm Society. (2018). Heartworm Basics. Retrieved from
    https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics
  2. Dryden, M. W. (2017). Canine Heartworm Antigen Tests. Retrieved from
    https://www.ksvdl.org/resources/news/diagnostic_insights/january2017/canine.html
  3. VetStreet Inc. (2014). Heartworm Disease in Dogs. Retrieved from:
    http://www.vetstreet.com/care/heartworm-disease-in-dogs

Written by: Seneca Animal Clinic

Category:

Blog

Geriatric Care - Looking After a Senior Pet

As your pet gets older, they need to get regular check-ups with your vet to make sure they are fit and healthy. Senior pets are more likely to have health issues, and monitoring with routine check-ups and bloodwork is a perfect way of keeping ahead of any illness.

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Last updated: May 29, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 15, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

4. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday & Tuesday: 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
- Wednesday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Thursday: 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
- Friday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
- Sunday: CLOSED

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Seneca Animal Clinic